A return to league action kick starts December as Dartford host Southern Premier League champions Poole Town.
The fixture brings back memories of the two sides meeting regularly during their Southern League days in the seventies, eighties and nineties. The last time the Darts faced the Dolphins was way back in March 1992 when Dartford won 4-0 at Watling Street.
This season both clubs are challenging for the playoffs with goal difference separating them. Dartford occupy the last spot in fifth place with Poole Town close behind in sixth.
Dartford kept up their recent form in an excellent 4-2 win at Weston-super-Mare on Saturday. The Darts progressed to the F.A Trophy first round but had to do it with ten men. Falling behind to a Bradley Ash goal, Dartford equalised when Andy Pugh scored just before half time. The second half belonged to Elliot Bradbrook who kept up his extraordinary cup scoring form. The captain put Dartford in front before Tom Bonner was sent off and Weston-super-Mare levelled from the spot. Bradbrook replied by giving his side the lead then completed his hat-trick to round off a fine afternoon for the Darts. The captain has now netted ten goals in just six cup games this season.
Over the last ten league games, Dartford top the form guide and other than a defeat to St Albans City they have won eight in that time with six clean sheets along the way. In fact, St Albans City are the only side to breach Dartford’s goal in the league in the last six matches. The Darts last outing in the National South ended in a 3-0 victory against Bishop’s Stortford adding to the 2-0 triumph over Hemel Hempstead Town.
Poole Town were also involved in the F.A Trophy third qualifying round scraping a 1-1 draw with Southern Premier League side Weymouth. The Dolphins avoided an upset with an injury time equaliser from Lewis Lindsay, the Terras led at half time through a Dean Evans header. The replay on Tuesday night ended with Weymouth causing an upset.
Having claimed the Southern Premier League crown last season, Poole Town have started this campaign positively. Sam Surridge’s seven league goals in seven starts and five substitute appearances have given the Dorset side more firepower up front. The loanee from AFC Bournemouth netted a hat-trick in the Dolphins impressive 4-0 win over Chelmsford City at the beginning of November. Defeat away to Concord Rangers was followed up with victory over Whitehawk in their last National South fixture.
Manager Tom Killick, in charge for the last 12 years has engineered a change in fortune for the South Coast club. Dropping out of the Southern League in 1996 with just an embarrassing one point and 188 goals conceded, Poole Town spent the next 15 years in the Hampshire and Wessex Leagues. Appointed in May 2004, Killick led the Dolphins to three consecutive Wessex League titles between 2008 and 2011, the Southern League Division One South and West championship and last season’s Southern Premier League crown. Never finishing lower than eighth, Killick has three runners up medals too.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 14 / Poole Town wins: 25 / Draws: 5
Current League Form
Won 3-0 v Bishop’s Stortford (A)
Won 2-0 v Hemel Hempstead Town (H)
Lost 0-2 v St Albans City (H)
Won 1-0 v Oxford City (H)
Won 1-0 v Bath City (A)
Won 5-0 v Truro City (A)
Poole Town (WLWDWL)
Won 3-1 v Whitehawk (H)
Lost 2-3 v Concord Rangers (A)
Won 4-0 v Chelmsford City (H)
Drew 1-1 v East Thurrock United (H)
Won 1-0 v Hungerford Town (A)
Lost 1-3 v Oxford City (H)
Dartford 2 Poole Town 0 (14/03/1992 – Southern League Premier)
Poole Town 0 Dartford 0 (02/11/1991 – Southern League Premier)
Poole Town 1 Dartford 0 (06/04/1991 – Southern League Premier)
Dartford 0 Poole Town 0 (24/11/1990 – Southern League Premier)
Dartford 0 Poole Town 1 (14/03/1983 – Southern League Premier)
Poole Town 2 Dartford 3 (08/03/1983 – Southern League Premier)
On This Day
Challenging at the top end of the National South, Dartford hosted rivals Dover Athletic five years ago and took the bragging rights. In front of over 1500 fans, the Darts brushed aside their opponents with goals from Adam Green, Ryan Hayes and Elliot Bradbrook in a 3-1 win. A trip to Forest Green Rovers was the last time Dartford played on 3 December just three years ago, the Darts went out in a F.A Trophy replay losing 1-0.